Choppers to determine Tableland’s future

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Ergon Energy’s inspections of power poles in the Atherton Tableland (QLD) will be carried out by helicopter to improve the safety and reliability of the electricity network.

A helicopter will be flying at low altitudes in the vicinity of Ergon power network assets on the Ravenshoe Feeder taking in the Ravenshoe township, Mount Ronald and Millstream areas.
Residents and property owners are advised to secure pets and stock as necessary.

The aerial inspection work will involve Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) analysis and high resolution digital photography of Ergon assets and will focus on the condition of pole tops, cross arms and other network equipment.

Customer Delivery Manager, Charlie Casa, has explained, “These photographs and pole-top inspections will be used in cross-referencing data with the new international award-winning ROAMES system that maps Ergon’s network each year using aircraft-mounted laser imaging and computer mapping.”

The Ergon-developed ROAMES system (Remote Observation Asset Modelling Economic Simulation) is currently used to map Ergon’s network annually from fixed-wing aircraft to check on the condition of powerlines and assist with spatial data and maintenance programs including vegetation management (particularly the proximity of trees and other vegetation to powerlines and poles).

“We are now looking at ways to further enhance the ROAMES base products using high resolution imaging from an aircraft to accurately determine the condition of pole tops and cross arms – a process that has traditionally involved physically sending a person to the top of each and every pole to do the inspection,” Mr Casa said.

“Regular checking of pole tops in high-rainfall areas like the southern Tablelands is a valuable way to improve the safety and reliability of the network and we are always looking to improve the effectiveness of this work,” he said.

“The collection of this inspection data on the Tablelands will help us develop a much quicker and cheaper option through ROAMES to identify where maintenance is needed.”

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